Languaging the complexities of identity in school

Assitej South Africa

Thetha/Talk/Praat is a dance and movement piece that interrogates the complexities of finding and languaging identity and specifically, cultural identity in school.

The piece which is currently in development, is produced by ASSITEJ South Africa and funded by the African Culture Fund as part of their Solidarity Fund for Artists and Cultural Organisations in Africa (SOFACO).

It will have three showings on the 25 and 26 June at the Masambe Theatre, Baxter Theatre Centre, Rondebosch for limited audiences due to current COVID-protocols.

The idea for Thetha/Talk/Praat was originated by Nasfa Ncanywa, Lolwethu Sdumo, Margo Kotze and Faye Kabali-Kagwa at Artists’ Week, a residency programme hosted by Toyota US Woordfees. The creative team was inspired by their experiences of the limitations of expression, and feelings of alienation that they could all trace back to their schooling careers. After a successful run of performances at Artists’ Week, the creative team were looking for opportunities to develop the piece further and to see whether it would resonate with school-going youth.

Thetha/Talk/ Praat is performed by Ncanywa, a recent theatre and performance graduate from UCT, and Sdumo, a Indoni Dance Academy fourth-year student. The two performers have expanded the piece by exploring different facets of the characters’ relationship and honing their physical language. The piece grapples with societal and familial expectations, finding friendship, and expressing oneself within a schooling framework.

In its most recent iteration, Vuyolwethu Nompetsheni was brought on to provide choreographic and movement insight and Jaqueline Dommisse served as the director and dramaturg. Nompetsheni is a former Dance for All dancer, a 2018 Jazzart Dance Theatre graduate, and works as an independent dance facilitator, choreographer and performer. Dommisse is the Artistic Director of the independent theatre company, Hearts & Eyes Theatre Collective. She has worked for ASSITEJ SA as project manager over many years and was appointed Festival Director for The Cradle of Creativity, an international festival of theatre for young audiences which took place in 2017 and 2019.

ASSITEJ SA focuses on giving access to children and young people to innovative artistic experiences, and during the COVID pandemic, this has become more challenging. As a result, this performance will also be filmed, so that it can mediated virtually or experienced live, in the future. There is an intention that the company will tour the piece to schools once this has become possible once again.

To find out more about the African Culture Fund, which is headquartered in Bamoko, Mali, please go to

For more information regarding Thetha/ Talk/ Praat, please contact Faye Kabali-Kagwa at


Concept: Nasfa Ncanywa, Lolwethu Sdumo, Margo Kotze, and Faye Kabali-Kagwa based on an original idea by Nasfa Ncanywa Content & Performance: Nasfa Ncanywa and Lolwethu Sdumo

Choreography: Vuyolwethu Nompetsheni & cast Director and Dramaturg: Jaqueline Dommisse Sound Design: Margo Kotze


ASSITEJ South Africa’s vision is for all South African children and young people to have access to quality, performing arts especially designed for them, contributing to a more empathic, engaged and creative society.

ASSITEJ South Africa is a registered NPO (066-875) and Public Benefit Organisation, with Section 18A status that operates as a networking platform for people working with or interested in theatre for children and young people. It aims to promote and foster high quality theatre for children and young people, to raise standards within the industry, to increase access and awareness, to develop and support artists working in the field, to be an advocate for the right of every child to arts education in schools, and to build relationships within the sector locally, nationally, across the continent and globally. ASSITEJ SA is the national centre for the international ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) which is in more than 100 countries. More info:

ASSITEJ South Africa is generously supported by Rand Merchant Bank, the National Lotteries Commission, the National Arts Council of South Africa, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports, the African Culture Fund, the Department of Basic Education, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), the HCI Foundation, the City of Johannesburg and the City of Cape Town.

Other funders, supporters and partners include and have included The Learning Trust, the DG Murray Trust, UNESCO IFCD, Buz Publicity, Splitbeam Gearhouse, Institut Francaise, Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institut, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Performing Arts Fund NL, Dutch Performing Arts, Government of Flanders, Swedish Embassy, the John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Danish Arts Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, SIDA, Africalia, Pro Helvetia, The National School of the Arts, Soweto theatre, Artscape, Baxter Theatre, Naledi Theatre Awards, Theatre Arts Admin Collective, the National Arts Festival, Hilton Arts festival, Vrystaat Kunstefees, Pan-African Creative Exchange, University of the Witwatersrand, Drama for Life, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban University of Technology, the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, De Stilte Dance Company, NEPAD, the Distell Foundation, Dala Arts, the Kids of the Cape, the Cape Tercentenary Foundation, CATHSSETA, Ruth & Anita Wise Trust, Lorenzo and Stella Chiappini Charitable Trust, Puppetry South Africa, The Arts and Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity, Copy Dog Productions, Speeltheater Holland Studio, Bush Radio, Fine Music Radio, and Cape Town Television.

Kofi Maqhawe Dotsey
082 859 5635